Financial Aid at CIM consists of grants, scholarships, loans and work study. Learn more about the details of each type of aid available to graduate students. 

CIM scholarship

The CIM Scholarship is a merit-based, need informed award. CIM faculty recommendations of the applicant audition are the primary component for this award, in addition to grades, test scores, outside letters of recommendation and expectation of student potential. This award is renewed at the same dollar amount each subsequent year for the normal duration of the program of study, provided the student maintains satisfactory academic and artistic progress. For enrollment that exceeds the normal timeframe to complete a program, Dean approval is required to extend the scholarship, and requires a formal appeal by the student explaining the reason the program was not completed on time; scholarship renewals are not guaranteed for program extensions. The need-based consideration for this award would require the student to submit the FAFSA and/or CSS PROFILE.

Federal direct graduate plus loans

Graduate or professional students may borrow under the PLUS Loan Program up to the cost of attendance minus other financial assistance. The terms and conditions applicable to Parent PLUS Loans also apply to Graduate or Professional PLUS loans (except there is no additional Unsub Stafford option if credit is denied). This loan is applied for via and requires a PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Graduate Direct Loan Entrance Counseling prior to the first disbursement.

Applicants for these loans are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They also must have applied for their annual loan maximum eligibility under the Direct Stafford Loan Program before applying for a Graduate/Professional PLUS loan.

The yearly limit on a PLUS Loan is equal to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received. For PLUS Loans, the interest rate is variable and is determined on July 1 of every year. Interest is charged on a PLUS Loan from the date of the first disbursement until the loan is paid in full.

Loan borrowers have the right to cancel or reduce the amount of their loans within 14 calendar days of the date the loan funds are credited (disbursed) to their student account and have any associated origination fees reversed. Borrowers who wish to cancel or reduce their loans must submit a written request within the 14-day period to the Financial Aid Office at CIM. After the 14-day period has expired, any cancellation or reduction of loans takes place directly between the borrower and the loan servicer and lender origination fees are not reversed.

Learn more about Direct PLUS Loans.

Federal Direct Stafford Loans

Stafford Loans may be subsidized and/or unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are need-based (and only eligible to undergraduate students), unsubsidized loans are not need-based and are eligible to both undergraduate and graduate students. Annual Loan limits vary based on year of enrollment. See additional loan information

Subsidized means the Federal government pays the interest while the student is enrolled at least half time; Unsubsidized requires the borrower to be responsible for interest that accrues from the time the funds are disbursed. Interest rates and origination fees vary annually. See the most updated rates and fee information

Direct Loans are created directly through CIM. CIM offers these loans to all eligible students. Students have the option to accept, reduce or decline all line items of aid independently when finalizing their aid offer. Direct Loan Entrance Counseling and a completed Master Promissory Note are required prior to disbursement the first year receiving this loan. 

Direct Loan borrowers have the right to cancel or reduce the amount of their loans within 14 calendar days from the date the loan funds are credited (disbursed) to their student billing account and have any associated origination fees reversed. Borrowers who wish to cancel or reduce their loans must submit a specific written request within the 14-day period to the Financial Aid Office at CIM. After the 14-day period has expired, any cancellation or reduction of loans must take place directly between the borrower and the loan servicer, and lender origination fees are not reversed.

Once a Direct Loan has been disbursed (generally the 3rd or 4th week into a semester), the servicing of the loan(s) will be handled by any of the following official Federal Loan Servicers.

graduate assistantships

Awarded institutionally to students in exchange for work responsibilities within CIM. These awards are extremely limited and are only eligible to students in specific majors (collaborative piano, orchestral conducting and composition). Graduate assistantships are paid semi-monthly via the payroll and are not applied to the student tuition account in advance.

Outside Scholarships

CIM encourages students to seek private aid and other funding options on their own. The following are organizations and tools you may wish to contact in search for additional funding. 

Always use caution when applying for private scholarship opportunities. Please visit Scholarship & Financial Aid Scams for warnings. Outside scholarships are sponsored, administered and awarded by a various individual donors, organizations and private agencies not affiliated with CIM.  Inclusion on this list does not constitute endorsement. These lists are provided for informational purposes only.

Advice for Outside Scholarships: The sites listed below are only a few of the resources that are available. You might also consider local scholarships.

  • Ethnic and cultural organizations
  • High school counseling office
  • Military associations
  • Parent's Employers
  • Political parties and politicians
  • Private foundations and charities
  • Professional or trade associations
  • Music organizations, orchestras, etc.
  • Religious organizations

Advice for Foreign Students: Some scholarships may be available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents; however, some scholarship agencies are geared specifically toward supporting foreign students. Please consult International Education Financial Aid and EduPass for more information: 

Music Scholarships:

General Scholarships:

Scholarship Search Engines:

private educational loans

Should you need to borrow additional funds beyond federal loan programs, you may wish to consider a private educational loan. It is your responsibility to research these options to find the one best suited to your needs. Be sure to review interest rate, fees and special features. Be aware that each lender performs its own credit check and multiple checks can have an adverse effect on your credit score. You should opt for a loan that has no prepayment penalty and is deferred until graduation. Most importantly, borrow conservatively. If you or your parents have equity in a home, you may wish to pursue a home equity loan. Contact your mortgage holder or the bank of your choice to apply for such a loan.

CIM is not affiliated with and does not endorse any particular lender. You are welcome to choose any lender of your choice. However, here is a historical list of lenders that CIM students have used in recent years in alphabetical order:

All Private loan borrowers must submit a Self-Certification Form to the lender, in addition to the School Certification. Most lenders will provide this form to borrowers. However, you can download a copy of the Private Loan Self-Certification Form.

SPHINX Music Assistance Fund Scholarship

Up to one student per year may be selected as the recipient of a full tuition scholarship to an eligible SPHINX competition participant.

state grant aid

Many states have established state grant and/or scholarship programs that may be available to eligible students. Students must apply for these state programs individually (generally via the FAFSA). These grants and/or award amounts are not always available at the time CIM prepares initial award packages and award amounts and disbursement timing is subject to the applicable state’s budget appropriations and approval. Please refer to your state agency for more information.

Veterans Benefits

Students, who are veterans of the armed services or dependents of veterans, should review their educational benefit options through the US Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).


  1. Apply for educational benefits through the DVA
  2. Notify CIM's Financial Aid Office that you are eligible and applying for veteran’s educational benefits.

Dependent of a veteran

  1. Your parent transfers a portion (or all) of his/her benefit to you through Transfer of Entitlement
  2. After the transfer is approved, apply for the educational benefit through the DVA.
  3. Notify CIM's Financial Aid Office that you are eligible and applying for veteran's educational benefits.

Documentation Needed

  • Veteran: a photocopy of your VA Certificate of Eligibility sent to you by the DVA.
  • Dependant of a veteran: a photocopy of approved Transfer of Educational Benefit (TEB) from your parent AND a photocopy of your VA Certificate of Eligibility sent to you by the DVA.
work study

Work study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student's course of study. Work study consideration is generally limited to domestic students with documented financial need from the FAFSA. Eligibility is year-specific to the applicable year’s FAFSA. Work study funding and eligibility may fluctuate from year to year.

Most jobs are within CIM offices. We also participate in several local community service programs.

Students who receive a work study award must apply for jobs via our Human Resources office and go through the hiring process with the applicable office/department. Work study awards are not applied to the student tuition account. Instead, these funds are paid to students on a semi-monthly basis via payroll as they submit their hours worked for approval by their supervisor. Before a student may begin a work study job, all new hire tax forms must be on file with the Human Resources office.

This is taxable income and the student will receive a W-2 at year-end for tax return purposes.

Yellow Ribbon Program

Up to 5 students annually may be awarded this CIM Yellow Ribbon Match support to accompany the VA GI Bill/Yellow Ribbon award as a veteran benefit. The annual combination of the CIM Yellow Ribbon Match and any other CIM funded scholarship / grant aid will be at least $10,000, renewable for the normal duration of the program, so long as the student remains an eligible recipient of the GI Bill, maintains a minimum 3.0 Cumulative GPA and meets CIM’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. The student or parent must qualify for 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill to be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon program. Applicants must disclose that status to the CIM Financial Aid Office by March 1 of the application year for consideration. If there are more than 5 eligible students, returning students get first priority. Any remaining openings are determined by the date the student's application for admission was submitted, and earliest completed application date gets first consideration. Find more eligibility details, here